Sustainable Williston helps residents Button Up

This year, Sustainable Williston is a Button Up Vermont community partner. This means that Williston is one of 18 Vermont towns whose residents are eligible for a free home visit from a professional energy contractor who can identify opportunities for home weatherization. Buttoning up your home is the best way to conserve home energy and reduce heating and cooling costs. Sustainable Williston has a few upcoming events where Williston residents can get more information and take action.

  1. Curious about the increasingly popular cold climate heat pumps? Attend a free workshop to learn about cold weather heat pump options for hot water and space heating on Wednesday, November 14th at 7pm at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. RSVP on Facebook
  2. Ready to Button Up your home or just want to hear more? Attend the free Weatherize Williston Button Up workshop on Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. There will be a home weatherization talk and time to meet with Building Energy, the Williston energy contractor conducting the free home visits. RSVP on Facebook
Want to participate but can’t make any of these events? Visit https://buttonupvermont.org/ and click on “Sign up for a free contractor visit” by December 15. After filling out a short survey about your home characteristics and energy usage, you will be contacted directly by the energy contractor, Building Energy. While you are at the Button Up website, review the checklist to find ways to start buttoning up right away and find out about DIY weatherization incentives (up to $100) from Efficiency Vermont.
For more about the Button Up program in Williston, tune in below to the November episode of What’s Up Williston: The Chief of Police and a Look at Sustainable Williston (Button Up information starts in minute 15).

Sustainable Solutions Tour – Sat Oct 14th, 1 PM – 3:30 PM

We’re pleased to announce our second sustainable solutions tour of 2017, this Saturday, October 14th, from 1-3:30! Plus, we’re partnering with Button Up VT this fall, so come out to receive information and a cool give-away!

Climate change got you feeling down? Come lift your spirits on this Solutions Tour hosted by the Sustainable Williston community group. Your neighbors will welcome you to their homes to show you what they’ve been doing to reduce their carbon footprint and protect our natural environment. Enjoy good company, good ideas, and get inspired!

Meet at 1PM @ 50 Spruce Lane off of N. Williston Rd. The group will carpool to the other tour stops together. Or feel free to drop in at the locations you are most interested in.

Schedule, locations and features listed below:

1:00-1:20 @ 50 SPRUCE LN: Deborah will show off her rain barrel, solar, organic gardening, composting, DIY solar heater for pool! Bonus: This bike commuter will share the best bike route into Burlington!

1:35-2:00 @ 413 BUTTERNUT RD: Living sustainably isn’t easy! Check out a mix of successes and failures with Steve.

2:15-2:35 @ 137 VILLAGE GROVE: Thinking about roof-mounted solar? Ben and Lori will show theirs off as well as perennial gardens, raised beds, and a rain barrel.

2:50-3:10 @ 497 TALCOTT RD (Allen Brook School): Did you know ABS has a wind turbine!? Principal John Terko gives us the scoop!

Tour Maphttps://goo.gl/maps/qXUsGTthtaU2
RSVP for our event and like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/482188012146106/
Have questions or interested in being a stop on a future tour? Contact: ReedCarrGS@gmail.com
Learn more about our group at www.sustainablewilliston.org

$17,500 Off a Nissan Leaf Electric Car Now Extended to all of Williston (and Beyond)

In a recent post, we reported that Green Mountain Power customers could participate in a program that gives a $10,000 discount on a 2017 Nissan Leaf. More recently, Vermont Electric Co-op has worked out a partnership with Nissan to also offer a that $10,000 discount to all its customers.

There’s more information in the previous post, but to recap: the Nissan Leaf is a reliable, well-reviewed, all-electric vehicle with an estimated 107-mile range between charges. EVs like the Leaf have much lower fuel cost than the average gas car (on average, just over 1/3 the cost) plus much lower maintenance costs. The batteries have proven durable and lasting, and by some careful estimates an EV like the Leaf will last twice as long as a gas car. The biggest limitation, of course, is that you have to recharge, and that takes longer than pumping gas. However, you can charge at home overnight, and there are a lot more charging stations in the area than you might guess:

Interactive charging station map available at ChargeHub

In addition to the $10,000 discount, most taxpayers can qualify for a $7,500 tax credit (note that this is a credit deducted from your tax liability, not just a deduction from your income calculation). Vermont Electric Co-op also offers a $250 bill credit to customers who buy an electric car.

Not all Nissan dealerships are participating, but there are three in the region where you can get a Leaf with this discount, so you can comparison shop. You don’t have to pay sticker price minus the discount: you should be able to get a better price from your dealer. The three participating dealerships are:

Save Energy and Lower Greenhouse Gases With Your Phone This Summer

Here’s some information from Generation 180 about their Keep It Cool Campaign, an easy way to help save energy and lower carbon footprints:
Keep it Cool Open Shop Sign

Keep It Cool is a simple campaign by Generation 180 with a huge potential impact: it focuses on stopping the energy waste caused by storefront doors staying open while the A/C is running. Although already illegal in places like New York City, this behavior is common around the country, and collectively it adds up to enormous amounts of wasted electricity and associated pollution.

Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness.

Why the big fuss?

A small action—as simple as closing a door—can not only prevent waste and pollution; it can spread the idea that energy is a resource that we should consume responsibly.

You can be a part of crowd-solving this problem (and it’s really simple):

The Problem

Each store with an open door wastes 4,200 kWh of electricity over the summer.
Generating 4,200 kWh of electricity releases significant pollution (CO2 + SO 2 + Nox + PM)
The pollution released is equivalent to that of a semi-truck driving from NY to Miami (200 gal of diesel).

How Our Campaign Works

On hot days, take notice of retailers’ front doors and send us (Generation 180) store locations via Facebook Messenger (read how to or watch a video)—either to recognize a store for keeping its door closed, or to flag a store that needs a friendly reminder to conserve energy.
For stores with doors that are kept closed, Generation 180 will send them an affirmation for their energy-conscious behavior and place a pin on our campaign map that promotes their location. We will reach out to remind retailers with their doors open to close their door to conserve energy.

Every retailer that Generation 180 contacts will be invited to join our campaign. As retailers commit to keep their doors closed, we’ll recognize them on our map.

Check the map periodically to watch the progress of the Keep It Cool project as it spreads across your community—and across the country.

$17,500 Off a New Electric Car for GMP Customers

Green Mountain Power has just announced a new program for its customers in partnership with Nissan, giving buyers of the 2017 Nissan Leaf a $10,000 discount. This is in addition to a $7,500 tax credit for which most new Leaf buyers will qualify. The base MSRP for a Nissan Leaf is $30,680, meaning buyers who take advantage of the discount and who qualify for the tax credit can get a new Leaf for $13,180.

In addition to savings on purchase of the car itself, electric car buyers enjoy much lower fuel costs and much lower maintenance costs, with no oil changes and few moving parts to wear out.

You may have heard that electric cars aren’t really any better for the environment than gasoline cars. That story has gone around the Internet a lot, but it’s not true. You can read some of the details here.

Transportation is the single biggest factor in most individuals’ and families’ carbon footprints, and cars are the biggest part of the transportation carbon problem. Buying an electric car is one of the very best ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

The 2017 Leaf has an estimated electric range of 107 miles on a full charge. This goes down a little in winter, but it’s also a conservative number; careful driving can get better range. Many families have an electric car for local transportation and a gas car or hybrid for longer drives. Other electric cars currently available have a greater range: for instance, the Chevy Bolt has a range of 238 miles, and the Chevy Volt (yes, it’s ridiculous that they have two cars with such similar names), while it has only a 53 mile electric range, has a backup gasoline engine that kicks in automatically when the battery runs out of power.

In this deal sounds too good to be true, I can explain Nissan’s motivation here: in a few months they’ll start selling the 2018 Leaf, which has much greater range and some other advantages. Discounting the 2017 models so steeply offers them a change to generate interest in the brand and get the old stock off the lots before it’s eclipsed by the new model.

Questions or concerns about electric cars? Check out the information at Drive Electric Vermont, comment here, or contact us.

Sustainable Williston meets Thursday, April 6th at 7:15 PM (Special Topic: Storm Water)

Sustainable Williston will meet Thursday evening at the Dorothy Alling Library at 7:15 PM. Becky Tharp, Manager of the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, a program of Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation, will give an educational talk on storm water issues effecting our region. Becky’s presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A session. Come join the conversation!

Vermont and All-Electric Buses

By now you’ve probably heard of electric cars, but have you heard about electric buses? They have all of the advantages of good electric cars in a larger size. For example, they’re very quiet, don’t put out any exhaust, have a low carbon footprint, and require much less maintenance than an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle.

Drive Electric Vermont today shared a photo of an electric bus visiting UVM. Take a look:

Proterra electric bus

We regularly buy school buses for the Chittenden South School District and CVU. While electric buses currently cost more than ICE buses, they pay for their extra costs with fuel, maintenance, and repair savings, and once they’ve done that they start saving money for taxpayers. Proterra buses are one option; another is Nova Bus in nearby Quebec. Maybe we here in Williston should get ahead of the curve and start thinking about what environmental and budget savings are in our reach if we opt for this quieter, cleaner type of transportation for our kids.

 

Made Energy Efficiency Improvements in 2014? Don’t Forget Your Tax Credit!

pellet stove

If you made energy efficiency improvements to your home in 2014, you may be eligible for a substantial tax credit. Here are the six areas for which tax credits have been made available:

  • Biomass stoves (this would mainly be wood or wood pellets, though there are some other, less common kinds)
  • Upgrading to a more efficient heating or cooling device (a more efficient boiler, a heat pump, etc.)
  • Insulation
  • Improving efficiency of your roof
  • Non-solar water heater
  • Sealing/improving windows and doors

Full information is available on the Energy Star site, here.

insulating

Tips and Recommendations from the First Smaller Footprint Meeting

Here are some notes of interest from the November 20th meeting of Smaller Footprint, a group whose purpose is to share information, ideas, and planning for shrinking individual and household carbon footprints.

Here are a fewbooks that were mentioned last night:

Mike Berners-Lee, How Bad Are Bananas – an expert carbon footprint calculator gives footprints of everything from paper towels to steak to car accidents to space shuttle launches.

Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior – The famed novelist’s story of a woman who finds a miracle that turns out to be the leading edge of climate change disaster. Much about the immediate experience of climate change creeping on us, leaving out discussion of what we can do about it.

Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing. The two types of social norms I mentioned that tend to cue people’s behavior, the names of which I can never remember off the top of my head, are injunctive norms (what people understand they’re supposed to do) and descriptive norms (what people perceive to be what others mostly do).


ice packDennis’s “Blue Ice Box” concept is a clever approach to reducing electricity use in refrigerators over the winter: purchase two sets of ice packs (he was thinking the blue ones, say, 12 ice packs total). Put half of them outside in freezing weather, then bring them in to the refrigerator as soon as they’re frozen solid. They’ll help cool your food as their temperature equalizes. When they’re entirely unfrozen, swap in the second set (which you’ll have had outside freezing in the mean time) and put the first set back out to freeze again.

Gotchas: leaving either the outside door or the refrigerator door open too long will cancel out some of the benefit of using this approach. Ideally, bring the ice backs in and out when you’re already going in and out of the house for other reasons.

Refrigerators use a thermostat, so adding the additional chill of ice packs will keep the fridge colder longer without requiring the compressor to start: voila, free cold and electricity savings! (Because cold is a renewal resource in Vermont.)